What Does It Really Cost for Industrial Marketers to Do Quality Content/Inbound Marketing?

This is a summary of the true costs of doing quality content marketing or inbound marketing for the industrial marketer.

blogging equals more leadsIt is expensive…but necessary.  Sorry!

If you are reading this post you have researched and come to the conclusion content marketing/inbound marketing might work for your industrial company.  You already know that content marketing works and provides the following benefits for B2B manufacturers and industrial suppliers:

  • Increase visibility.  Content marketing is the new SEO. (search engine optimization)
  • Increase quote requests, resulting in more leads for your sales group
  • If done with enthusiasm and competence, content marketing can be less expensive and more effective than traditional marketing.
  • If using a MAP or marketing automation platform you have the ability to measure everything.

The obvious next question is, “How much does this stuff cost?” 

Before we dive into costs, there a several ways to approach content marketing/inbound marketing for the industrial marketer:

  • You can do all your content marketing internally.  That rarely works because industrial companies simply don’t have a culture of content and creativity.  If you don’t have an in-house content evangelist, it won’t work.
  • You can outsource all your content creation.  This is a difficult approach because outside copywriters and content journalists have difficulty understanding your technical elements, industrial jargon and nuances.  If there is good communication between a talented “content journalist ” and the customer, this approach can work well.  It takes good chemistry between the parties involved.
  • Another approach is a hybrid approach to content/inbound marketing.  This would be a blend of in house expertise and an outside consultant to help develop and coach your content/inbound marketing strategy.

Obviously, each approach has different costs and different outcomes.  To make it easy, let’s look at costs as a percentage of revenue and you can evaluate yourself, based on your company’s revenue, how content marketing fits into your budget.

According to the SBA.gov site a business that is doing 5 million in sales and wants to grow needs to spend 7-8% of sales on a marketing budget.   That is $350,000 to $400,000 for entire marketing budget.

In a recent survey Gartner, the industry leader in technology research, says US companies are currently spending 2.5% of their revenue on digital marketing, which would include content/inbound marketing.  Further, Gartner says this is only 25% of the entire marketing budget.

So, if your company is doing 5 million in sales you would likely be spending $125,000 on just digital marketing with an overall marketing budget of $350,000 to $400,000.

How does your industrial marketing budget stack up to these numbers?  That’s only if you want to grow…of course.

Now let’s explore some real numbers that produce real benefits.

First, if you are going to do content marketing invest in a MAP or marketing automation platform.  I wrote a blog earlier why marketing automation is important for industrial marketers. At The Repp Group we use HubSpot and it costs us approximately $12,000 a year as a HubSpot Agency Partner for the HubSpot license.  That includes all the support and training, which is well documented in the blog I just referred to.

That is the easy part.

Now you have to create worthwhile and helpful content that is focused on education and not products.

For an industrial business that is the hard part.

Industrial marketers have been taught for years to focus on product features and benefits. (I think I am going to hurl.) Now market realities dictate you focus on customers by creating helpful, educational content.  This is a MAJOR culture shift for the mid-size industrial marketer.

So…Now you have to figure out a way to produce the content required by Google…and your customers. Those costs can be substantial.

At The Repp Group, I have been the evangelist.  Your company will need one as well.  If you don’t have an evangelist  your content marketing strategy will fail.  Again…sorry!

I spent the better part of 6 months learning HubSpot and also trying to sell and manage at the web developmnet company I founded…that morphed into The Repp Group.  It was a steep learning curve for me, but extremely rewarding.  Again, I documented this at Is Marketing Automation Worth It? 

Once I became proficient at HubSpot, somebody had to create the content.  Again, that task was squarely on my shoulders.  With the help of my staff, HubSpot and Greg Miller at Maxwell and Miller (www.maxwellandmiller.com), I produced all the content you see on this web site.  I will continue to be the evangelist and producer of content that consistently helps our industrial marketing friends navigate the, pot-holed, digital highway.

Of course,  I also write and edit our blog which I started in October of 2012.

Obviously, it is difficult to calculate the cost of content production up to this point.  But if you were to pay a Manager and Content Journalist to do what I did, I think this blog post from Content Marketing Institute nails the monthly costs.  http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2012/06/justify-content-marketing-cost/

cost of content marketing

Monthly costs for content marketing if done right

These costs are not only in line with the percentages referenced above but also my own experience. This is real world.  So sorry!

I am committed to this method of marketing…because it works.  I also believe it is the most honest and transparent way to promote our company and to generate quality leads.   It is the “Special Sauce” for The Repp Group.  It can be your “Special Sauce” as well.

But you say, “I can’t afford that”.   Then ask yourself (and this is not some slick sales tactic), “Can I afford for my competitor to grab, top-of-mind, awareness in my industry?”  Because…if done well, that’s what content/inbound marketing can do.

What do you think?  Can you afford it?

If you want to know more about industrial content marketing you can DOWNLOAD NOW A Beginner’s Guide to Industrial Content Marketing



“By Tom Repp”

Author: Tom Repp

A traditional industrial marketer…now a passionate evangelist for leveraging the digital channel for lead generation.

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